Weekend Picks ~ 4-21-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

You already have a platform…

Only One Platform Will LastKaren Swallow Prior
https://tgc-cache.s3.amazonaws.com/images/remote/http_s3.amazonaws.com/tgc-ee2/articles/only-one-platform-will-last-2.jpgI don’t think platform is quite what many imagine it to be.

Our real platform is the life we are living and the work and ministry we are already doing. Platform is our proven track record and the authority we’ve gained in whatever area God has called us to—whether we work out of the home and take care of children, or teach and research as a professor…

In the end, that’s what we’re all called to do with our platforms: serve others and, in so doing, glorify God. There is no place better from which to do that than in our everyday lives.


A few of these may seem counter-intuitive, but that’s exactly why they are so important to keep in mind…

5 Key Principles Every Leader Should Master
Carey Nieuwhof
Here are 5 principles I think about almost every day. The first three relate to the personal health of the leader. The final two are two of the key concepts that I think should drive much of what’s happening in church these days, but often don’t.

Like most worthwhile principles in leadership, these are easy to understand and much more difficult to implement.

But if you do stay focused on these 5 things, I believe you’ll see a marked improvement in your leadership and character. And that can only be a good thing.


David French is correct…

O’Reilly, Ailes, and the Toxic Conservative-Celebrity CultureDavid French
http://c10.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/styles/original_image_with_cropping/public/uploaded/bill-oreilly-roger-ailes-fox-news-mike-flynn-tomi-lahren-conservative-celebrity-culture-character_0.jpg?itok=AMecipSj
The conservative movement includes some of the best and most admirable people I’ve ever met. It also includes its share of grasping, ambitious fame-hounds, people who live for the next Fox hit and angle to write this year’s version of the “liberals are sending this country to hell” bestselling book. But bad character sends a country to hell just as surely as bad policy does, and any movement that asks its members to defend vice in the name of advancing allegedly greater virtue is ultimately shooting itself in the foot.


3 Problems with the Benedict OptionJesse Johnson
The fall of our culture didn’t start with gay marriage, the sexual revolution, no-fault divorce, or even those darned hippies. The string that pulled the garment apart runs through segregation, slavery, and right to systemic racism produced by a supposed “Christian culture.” Is SSM bad? Yes. As bad as slavery? Yeah Right.

Imagine being an African-American and reading a book that claims the downfall of Western Civilization is indicated by Justice Kennedy’s incoherent ruling on gay marriage—as if that was the straw that broke the camel’s back, so now everyone head to the hills! Christians could be comfortable in society through slavery and segregation, but Obegerfell is just too much?


Family Style…
https://safr.kingfeatures.com/idn/cnfeed/zone/js/content.php?file=aHR0cDovL3NhZnIua2luZ2ZlYXR1cmVzLmNvbS9CaXphcnJvLzIwMTcvMDQvQml6YXJyb19wLjIwMTcwNDIxXzYxNi5naWY=
Bizarro

Luke 17:5-6

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 17:5-6
The apostles said to the Lord, “Increase our faith!” And the Lord said, “If you had faith like a grain of mustard seed, you could say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be uprooted and planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
What do you think of the apostles question?
What could I do to increase your faith?
Is there anything that I haven’t already done?
What can you do to increase your faith?
Is there anything?
Are you doing it?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Thursday Picks ~ 4-20-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

Christian, You Don’t Have to Qualify Your Prayers
Michael Kelley
“…there’s something in me that tells me that this is not the kind of bold approach to the throne of grace that Jesus died for. This is not the intimate kind of communication that Jesus told me to cultivate by starting my prayer with, “Our Father…”

It’s respectful, sure – but it sounds a bit like one who is not sure of the character of the person he’s talking to.

So what is the alternative? Perhaps another way to pray is through exercising faith before, during, and after we pray…”


I appreciate this article a lot…

How I Found My Place (And My People) at a Megachurch
Sarah Short
I used to wonder why people would attend a megachurch.

I mean, THOUSANDS on THOUSANDS of people streaming into a building on any given weekend? Is that ANYONE’S idea of a good time? I actually wondered what people were thinking in CHOOSING a church so large as their place of worship when they could attend a smaller church down the street with easy parking, good ol’ fashioned potlucks, and a small community of people who all know each other…

Well, here’s how it went down for us: My family moved into the area and went searching for a church where the gospel was preached EVERY week and the people loved Jesus and had hearts for the lost people he came to save – not just each other. And, when we found that in a church TWENTY times the size of what we might’ve considered ideal, we stayed.

We’ve been at our church, a church of over 10,000 people, for six years. We have grown in our relationship with Jesus and in our passion to love people well in ways we never could’ve imagined. And as I sat down to think about WHY we’ve stayed and WHAT we love about our church, I wanted to share with you how we found our place and our people here…


Important for church leaders to remember…

The Hottest Thing at Church Is Not Your Pastor or Worship LeaderKate Shellnutt
The Hottest Thing at Church Is Not Your Pastor or Worship LeaderDespite a new wave of contemporary church buzzwords like relational, relevant, and intentional, people who show up on Sundays are looking for the same thing that has long anchored most services: preaching centered on the Bible.

“Sermons that teach about Scripture” are the No. 1 reason Americans go to church, according to a new Gallup poll


A practical application of new technology…
Off the Mark

Luke 17:1-4

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 17:1-4
And he said to his disciples, “Temptations to sin[a] are sure to come, but woe to the one through whom they come! It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck and he were cast into the sea than that he should cause one of these little ones to sin.[b] Pay attention to yourselves! If your brother sins, rebuke him, and if he repents, forgive him, and if he sins against you seven times in the day, and turns to you seven times, saying, ‘I repent,’ you must forgive him.”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Have you ever been the source of someone’s temptation?
How would you know? Could you know?
Would it matter to you?
Should it matter to you?
Is it something you consider when it comes to your behavior?
Which is more important to you?
1. Your own freedom?
2. The struggle of another?
Are you willing to trade one to help the other, if necessary?

“Temptations to sin are sure to come,
but woe to the one through whom they come!


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Luke 16:19-31

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 16:19-31
19 “There was a rich man who was clothed in purple and fine linen and who feasted sumptuously every day. 20 And at his gate was laid a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, 21 who desired to be fed with what fell from the rich man’s table. Moreover, even the dogs came and licked his sores. 22 The poor man died and was carried by the angels to Abraham’s side.[f] The rich man also died and was buried, 23 and in Hades, being in torment, he lifted up his eyes and saw Abraham far off and Lazarus at his side. 24 And he called out, ‘Father Abraham, have mercy on me, and send Lazarus to dip the end of his finger in water and cool my tongue, for I am in anguish in this flame.’ 25 But Abraham said, ‘Child, remember that you in your lifetime received your good things, and Lazarus in like manner bad things; but now he is comforted here, and you are in anguish. 26 And besides all this, between us and you a great chasm has been fixed, in order that those who would pass from here to you may not be able, and none may cross from there to us.’ 27 And he said, ‘Then I beg you, father, to send him to my father’s house— 28 for I have five brothers—so that he may warn them, lest they also come into this place of torment.’ 29 But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the Prophets; let them hear them.’ 30 And he said, ‘No, father Abraham, but if someone goes to them from the dead, they will repent.’ 31 He said to him, ‘If they do not hear Moses and the Prophets, neither will they be convinced if someone should rise from the dead.’”

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you know anyone who needs to be warned?
What would it take for them to believe?
Would it take scripture?
What if someone rose from the dead?
Would they believe that?
Well, they could have both.
They could have you.
What if they saw Jesus alive…in you?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.


Tuesday Picks ~ 4-18-2017

This is some stuff I found helpful, challenging, interesting, or amusing today that I think may enrich your day as well...

A brief review of a book I’ve been wanting to read…

Between Heaven and the Real WorldDarryl Dash
170418I would have read this book simply for its entertainment value, but it did more than entertain. It gave hope. It pointed to the beauty of the gospel in the middle of difficulty and tragedy. It’s a book that shows the beauty of a life that’s been touched by the grace of Jesus.

I haven’t seen Chapman perform in almost 17 years. But now I’ve seen something more valuable than a concert. I’ve seen, through this book, his life, and that life has shown me Jesus. And for that I’m grateful.


We can rest in the finished work of Christ, but we can’t coast…

The Coasting ChristianAaron Earls
bike work Christianity coastChristianity is a daily faith. It is built on choices each day that become habits and disciplines. It must be lived out, not simply remembered.

Our faith is an outworking of our relationship with Jesus. Coasting only becomes an option in our minds when we forget we are trying to draw closer to a person.

One day, we will feel the fresh breeze on our face as Christ declares over us, “Well done, my good and faithful servant.”

Then everything around us will be drawing us toward Him. Gravity will be working in our favor. Our coasting will only take us deeper with Him.

Until then, however, we cannot coast. No matter how far you’ve come or what you’ve previously accomplished, you cannot take your feet off the pedals.


Yes, there are many good things about it…

What We Gained When We Lost the HymnalTim Challies
A few weeks ago I wrote an article titled What We Lost When We Lost Our Hymnals… I meant to point out that there are consequences in shifting from one medium to another—in this case, shifting from hymnals to… projection. It is true of every new technology that it brings benefits and drawbacks. Neither hymnals nor PowerPoint are exempt from the rule.

Where that article focused on what we lost when we shifted from hymnals to projection, today I want to focus on what we gained. When our churches turned away from hymnals to instead sing lyrics projected on a screen, here is some of what we gained…


Living Easter every day…

Do You Really Know This Story?Melissa Edgington
So, here is the challenge in the days after Easter… Are we living, on the Tuesday after the resurrection, as if we really know this story? Are we… content to settle into the joy and the hope of it, the sheer love of a Savior who says that no casket can hold us? That it can’t hold our dearest ones? Are we trusting in the God of Easter morning to handle whatever is coming?

We must live this short, troubled life with a resurrection mentality. With a soul that never stops smiling over Easter morning. With a mind that remembers that the risen Savior proves that death and sin have no power here. With a faith that can stand at the foot of an open grave, knowing this is not the end, not even close. I know this story, we will whisper with a smile, and we will lean on our risen Savior. He is alive forever, and so are we.


The unseen damage of cat videos…
http://bizarro.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/04/bizarro-04-12-17.jpg
Bizarro

Luke 16:14-17

The idea of these little devotionals is simple. I want to approach scripture with the understanding that God is speaking. I’m reading through the Bible and listening for God to ask me questions. I expect these questions to be fairly open-ended and plan to carry them in my mind throughout the day. I’ll share these questions with you in the hope that you find them challenging and helpful.

Luke 16:14-17
14 The Pharisees, who were lovers of money, heard all these things, and they ridiculed him. 15 And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God.

16 “The Law and the Prophets were until John; since then the good news of the kingdom of God is preached, and everyone forces his way into it.[e] 17 But it is easier for heaven and earth to pass away than for one dot of the Law to become void.

From this passage I hear God asking me:
Do you ever “justify yourself before men”?
What does that even mean?
What are some ways that you do it?
Read v. 15 and tell me why you do it?


Is God asking you anything more, or anything different?
I’d love to hear from you in the comments below.